PQA industrialists given three months to install treatment plants
KARACHI: The Supreme Court-mandated commission on water and sanitation in Sindh on Monday directed the owners of industrial units situated in the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) industrial zone to install treatment plants within three months.
It also asked the PQA to lay sewerage pipelines outside the industries within two months which would be linked by the industries after contaminated water was treated.
The commission warned around 10 industrialists that their industrial units would be sealed if they failed to comply with its directive within the stipulated period.
The head of the commission, retired apex court judge Justice Amir Hani Muslim also expressed resentment over the absence of around 15 industrialists who neither turned up in person nor sent their representatives in compliance with the summons issued by the commission. The commission directed the senior superintendent of police to ensure the appearance of those owners of industrial units through the station house officers of the police stations concerned on Tuesday (today).
Judicial commission tells police to ensure presence of summoned owners of industrial units
At the outset, the owner of a pharmaceutical company undertook to install a treatment plant on the firm’s premises, but complained that there was no sewerage line of the PQA to connect with the industries’ sewerage lines after contaminated water was treated.
However, PQA officials assured the commission that the authority would provide sewerage lines within two months as the scheme was operative in the north-west zone.
A number of officials of the industries contended that their owners were abroad and would appear before court on June 26 and 28. The commission directed them to file undertakings of the owners that treatment plants would be set up within three months.
It also ruled that the periodical progress for proposed installation of a treatment plant would be gathered by the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) director general through his director and the PQA.
The commission directed some other industrialists to install septic tanks within two months while notices earlier issued to a few were discharged after they submitted that they had septic tanks on their premises and Sepa did not dispute the same.
Two companies tendered unconditional apologies for not providing access to officials of Sepa for inspection and said the factories could be visited at any time.
The commission also directed two other firms to deposit the penalty amount of Rs1 million imposed by the PQA within two days.
Some of the industries’ officials contended that they were not required to install treatment plants as they did not discharge any industrial waste.
The commission directed Dr Ghulam Murtaza of the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources to inspect the industries in question and submit a report. He was also told to inspect whether the septic tanks at different industrial units were functional.
A few firms said that they had primary treatment plants, but Sepa officials stated that such plants did not cater to the standards for the discharge of waste. The commission directed them to install standard treatment plants within three months.
The commission had visited the PQA on June 13 after receiving complaints from different quarters about draining untreated industrial waste into the sea and the chairman informed it that most of the industries did not have treatment plants on their premises and they were directly discharging liquid waste/industrial effluent into the sea, and also provided a list of such industries to the commission.
The commission was further informed that not only the PQA but Sepa had also issued notices, but apart from a few, all the industries within the industrial zones of the PQA were still draining industrial waste directly into the sea.
The commission had issued notices to the owners of all the industries mentioned in the list provided by the PQA to appear in person before it and justify the discharge of untreated industrial waste into the sea.